Almost twenty games deep, the Worms franchise has seen changes with each iteration, but not always for the best. A few years agoWorms hit a low point, a very low point, when it made the switch to 3D gameplay that left a bad taste in my mouth. The previous game returned Worms to it’s glory days with 2D gameplay using deformable landscapes and 3D modeled worms. Unlike previous iterations of the series, Worms Clan Wars features a single-player campaign set across 25 missions and different time periods.
Both the dynamic water from Worms Revolution and the class-based worm system returns. Watching enemy worms get washed away from flowing water can turn the tide of a match, but being trapped under water doesn’t cause enough damage per turn to be a sound strategy. Much of the difficulty in the single-player campaign doesn’t come from the AI, but from issues with the physics-based objects. Early on in the campaign, I’ve had to restart a mission multiple times due to an unbreakable object falling over the path needed to advance. Of course, I later learned that these type of objects can be easily moved with the baseball bat, but that was unavailable to me at the time.
The returning class system offers four different worm types; Soldier, Scout, Scientist and Heavy. Scouts are able to move faster than anyone else avoiding mines; the Scientist is capable of healing worms each turn; the Soldier can manually detonate grenades; and the Heavy moves slow, but providing greater firepower. The new day/night cycle doesn’t serve much of a purpose, especially considering the game will chug slightly during the transition.
One thing that was missing in the previous game was the classic weapons that kept Worms Armageddon in my Nintendo 64 for many years after the game released. Thankfully, many of my favorites have returned, including the Holy Hand Grenade, complete with the classic “Hallelujah”, the Concrete Donkey and the game ending Armageddon. Once again Team 17 has excluded a bunch of weapons from previous games, such as the MB Bomb and Carpet Bomb. Is it too much to ask for a game to include every previous weapon in the series?
As the name implies, Clan Wars features full clan support though WormNet, as well as new customization options, including new sound-banks (where are the specific country sound-banks from Worms 2?) and outfits. Clans can battle it out in in either a standard Team Deathmatch or in the Forts game mode, which I never found to be as enjoyable. The game does support Steam Workshop for community created content for outfits, landscapes and new voices. Someone has even ripped the sound bank from Worms Armageddon, much to my pleasure. A few of the custom landscapes are enjoyable and seeing worms with a Darth Vader and a Iron Man helmet is quite entertaining. I wasn’t able to test what would happen in an online match if the other player didn’t download the same content.
Team 17 may have been trying to reinvigorate the Worms franchise by testing the waters with the 3D gameplay of previous games, but the series belongs in 2D. Visually, the colorful and cartoon style mimics what was done in Revolution. I don’t find it as appealing as the classic sprite based games, especially since some elements of the engine feel clunky; especially trying to use the ninja rope. Multiplayer matches are fun and chaotic at the same time, offering plenty of match customizations. The inclusion of the Steam Workshop should keep the game feeling fresh thanks to the cult like following of the series.
Note: The Worms Clan Wars review was written based on the PC version game provided to us for review.